Verizon Unveils 10 Mobile Devices With LTE Built-in
Verizon Wireless today at CES 2011 unveiled 10 mobile devices, all of which will have built-in support for the carrier's burgeoning LTE 4G wireless network.
The devices include smartphones, tablets, portable hotspots, netbooks and notebooks, from well known brands: HTC, HP, LG, Motorola and Samsung. All the smartphones are Android-based, including the HTC Thunder Bolt, which will support Android 3.0. In addition, Skype announced that its Skype Mobile Video, an application for setting up video calls, will be available on a range of device types on the Verizon LTE network.
The new devices will start appearing as early as March 2011, with all due by mid-year -- about the time rival AT&T begins its own LTE deployment (announced this week).
What was missing from today's announcement is any indication of price, either for the devices being showcased or for Verizon's LTE data and voice plans. Currently, devices like laptops or netbooks can access the LTE network in 38 U.S. markets via a plug-in USB adapter. Those customers have a choice of $50 a month for a 50 Gbyte data plan, or $80/month plan for 10 Gbytes.
Verizon is still weighing how to structure and price its LTE service, according to Dan Mean, Verizon Wireless president and chief executive officer, who emceed the CES announcement in Las Vegas.
Carrier executives said they will roll out LTE in 140 additional markets in 2011. In addition, the carrier is partnering with local rural wireless providers to "collaboratively build and operate" a rural 4G network on Verizon's 700 MHz spectrum. The "Rural Initiative" uses the tower and backhaul assets of the local operator, coupled with Verizon Wireless LTE radio equipment and spectrum.
The 10 LTE devices shown include four smartphones:
• HTC's long-rumored ThunderBolt (exclusive to Verizon Wireless) with the HTC Sense 2.0 user interface, Skype mobile with video (for video calls), 1-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a big 4.3-inch WVGA display, Dolby surround sound, and a 8-megapixel camera and HD video recording. AndroidCentral.com has a video of the ThunderBolt in action
• LG Revolution, with a 4.3-inch touch screen, Android 2.2, video call support with front-facing camera, and mobile hotspot capability to share a 4G connection with up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
• Motorola DROID Bionic 4G, which includes Android with Adobe Flash and HTML5, front-facing VGA camera and See What I See video feature, rear-facing 8-megapixel camera, 4.3-inch HD quality screen, HDMI connectivity, dual-core 1GHz processor and 512 DDR2 RAM.
• Samsung 4G LTE Smartphone, featuring Android 2.2; Google Mobile services, including Google Search, Google Maps and Gmail; YouTube; 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus touch screen display (with "Plus" adding better color, sharpness and improved outdoor visibility); 1GHz application processor; HTML5 Web browser; rear-facing 8-megapixel camera with LED flash; front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera; Samsung Social Hub and Media Hub.Two tablets were unveiled:
• The just-announced Motorola XOOM 10.1-inch HD tablet, upgradeable to LTE, with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), 1080p HD video, Adobe Flash Player, front-facing 2-megapixel camera, and 5-megapixel camera to capture video in 720p. Allows up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices to connect and share the LTE service.
• A slightly-upgraded, LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab with 7-inch enhanced TFT display, 1024 x 600 WSVGA resolution, Android 2.2, Adobe Flash 10.1, 1.2-GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird application processor (the original Tab had 1-GHz), rear-facing 5-megapixel camera (up from 3 mp) and front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera and camcorder.Two portable hotspots will be available, both of which let up to five Wi-Fi-connected devices share either the Verizon Wireless LTE or 3G data services: the Novatel MiFi 4510L Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, and the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot.
Larger-sized devices are the HP Compaq CQ10 netbook, with a 10.1-inch display, Intel Atom N455 processor, up to 8.5 hours of battery life; and the HP Pavilion notebook, with 11.6iinch screen, HD 1080p, VISION Technology from AMD, up to 10.75 hours of battery life, 320 Gbytes of storage.
Even on a loaded LTE network, users of these devices will see speeds of 5-12 Mbps, according to Tony Melone, Verizon's chief technology officer, who spoke at the CES event. Currently customers are often getting links at the high end of that range, he said. Many have reported 4G speeds that are 10-20 times that of 3G, according to Melone. One reported that his in-home LTE speed was faster than his wired broadband connection.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgBlog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed.